In a world fraught with geopolitical tensions, the upcoming International Sports Day for Development and Peace (IDSDP) offers an opportunity to highlight sport as a response to peace. April 6 is the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations in the not far away 2013.
This also to create a historical link with what were the first modern Olympic Games of 1896. This decision certainly represents a symptomatic step in identifying the power that sport holds to transform people and the relational context that is capable of triggering and the great potential to promote concrete and real social change launched to create a better world for our children and our students. Since its creation, many national and international organizations (even many schools, to be honest) and many individuals have celebrated on this day the role that sport has in society and its power to foster intercultural, interracial, interfaith dialogue, understanding, social inclusion and peace on our continent and in the world.
Everyone can do their part
Everyone can do their part to help the worldwide movement that enlivens this day to gain momentum. “Sport is an answer”. Try to highlight and draw attention to focus examples of peace sports programs or through personal stories that highlight how sport could be an answer to social issues. Each of us can demonstrate a commitment to peace, unity and social integration through sport, and illustrate the responses that sport can bring to building a culture of peace. This is the time to “Act!” and concretely promote development and peace.
What does sport have to do with development and peace?
Around the world, sport is playing a more important role in development and peace, as more and more people recognize its potential to mobilize communities for the greater good. Sport is a natural partner for development and peace. The principles necessary for development and peace, such as cooperation, sharing, respect and fair play, are a natural part of sport. Sport brings individuals and communities together, highlighting what people have in common. Sport teaches discipline, leadership, trust, tolerance, cooperation and respect.
Sport and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
Sport can help achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Sport can be used to communicate important messages and to teach people about developmental issues.
Sport and health
Sport has many health benefits: Physical activity can reduce the risk of death from diseases ranging from cancer to stress and depression. Physical activity is the simplest way to improve public health.
Sports and Education
Education is essential for everyone. Sport can teach basic values and important life skills to young people. Sport teaches important values such as honesty, fair play, respect, cooperation and trust. It is important that sports programs include everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or ability. Encouraging girls to play sports can help break down stereotypes and can help achieve gender equality, as sports are traditionally masculine.
Sport, sustainable development and economy
Development must meet the needs of people living today without escaping future generations. Sports programs should contribute to economic and social development and environmental sustainability.
Sports can help the economy because they require goods and services, which create jobs and contribute to the local economy through production, direct employment, etc.
Sport helps social development by teaching core values and life skills. Sport can bring people together, improve social cohesion and address social problems such as drug abuse, crime, gender equality and child labor. It also promotes volunteering. Sports rely on volunteers, international events and community activities. Volunteers learn new skills and feel good about themselves. Volunteering improves community participation and social well-being.
Sport can also be a powerful tool for communicating environmental messages. Sport should be practiced in an environmentally sustainable way, without harming the environment because the destruction of the environment reduces the health and well-being of local populations.
Sport and peace
The international language of sport is capable of crossing cultures and bridging social and ethnic divisions. This is why sports are a powerful tool for promoting peace. Sport encourages social integration and tolerance, which are necessary for lasting peace. In unstable times, sport helps people feel normal and offers structure in an unstructured environment.
Sport and Partnership
Since sport has the power to bring people together, it is a very powerful communication tool. Sport reaches many different people in many unique ways; send the cooperation message. Many organizations partner with the world of sport to teach people key issues locally and globally:
- using athletes as a spokesperson;
- devote sporting events to development issues;
- use sport to mobilize resources;
- taking advantage of media coverage of sporting events.
Practice fair play
The “Practicing fair play” Learning Unit, created by the talented teachers of the Gianni Rodari Comprehensive Institute of Rome chaired by the head teacher Prof. Angela Palmentieri, has as its main theme “Sport: I win, I lose, I play”. UoA products the “meetings between classes of the same complex and vertically for pre-competitive competitions”.